Topic: Ngāpuhi

Crown rejects finding that Ngapuhi did not cede sovereignty

By Dean Nathan
  • Northland

The Crown will not be responding to the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal in its stage one report that Ngapuhi did not cede sovereignty. It comes at the final sitting of a ten year long hearing of claims of Te Paparahi o te Raki.  

Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua gave his own closing submission during his welcome speech to the Waitangi Tribunal and the Crown counsel.

"They came here to steal they came here to take our lands!  Without lands, without resources, they can’t govern.  And that's why they continue, they continue, they continue to take our land so that they can govern."

Annette Sykes has been counsel for claimants for the past decade, "There are some heavy submissions being presented by the Crown and we heard the challenge from the elders this morning about achieving Mana Māori Motuhake.  That's the real issue that everyone present here has come to hear."

A key point for claimants and counsel alike was the realisation that the Crown has decided not to respond to the findings of the tribunals' report from the stage one hearing, that Ngapuhi did not cede sovereignty.

Barrister Andrew Irwin who represents the Crown says, "Hobsons proclamations in May 1840 and the publication of those proclamations later that year in October and the extension of British Sovereignty to New Zealand was completed."

He came under cross-examination from the Waitangi Tribunal Judge Craig Coxhead, "So when you're talking about Crown Sovereignty of New Zealand incontrovertible, are you talking about the legal sovereignty or the effective sovereignty or both?"

The Crowns' reply was, "Ahh the legal sovereignty."

Claimant Arapeta Hamilton told Te Kaea, "We have always maintained the words of our chief that Ngati Manu speaks for Ngati Manu and that's the most important thing that will continue after this hearing."

Meanwhile, Tribunal elder Kihi Ngatai acknowledged the many leaders who have passed on during the ten-year process including the esteemed elder and tribunal member Ranginui Walker of Te Whakatohea and their highly skilled translator Rangi McGarvey of Tuhoe who was buried only yesterday.  

Crown lawyer Mr Irwin informed the gathering, "That simply is the situation under the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 there is no requirement that the Crown responds to any tribunal report."

Ngapuhi claimant Ruiha Collier reacted to this statement telling Te Kaea, “If you've been here for 140 years, or even 100 years, or even 20 years, if you haven't found out what Māori is about as whakapapa then why are you here. Why are you here?  I say you have no right to put your footprint here.  Pick it up and go!”

The Crowns' closing submissions are the key focus of the hearing with cross-examination by the tribunal and the respective Taiwhenua of Ngapuhi also given time to respond. The hearing wraps up on Friday.